Resilience in Non-Offending Mothers of Children Who Have Reported Experiencing Sexual Abuse

Cher J McGillivray, Aileen M Pidgeon, Carol Ronken, Catherine A Credland-Ballantyne

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9 Citations (Scopus)
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Growing evidence shows that non-offending mothers experience significant loss and trauma following their child reporting experiencing sexual abuse. Maternal support offered to sexually abused children following disclosure can be a crucial factor in children's recovery. Although mothers are often seen as playing a central role in facilitating the recovery of their sexually abused child, there has been little focus on their own needs and profiles. This present study aimed to increase our understanding of the diversity of profiles of non-offending mothers of sexually abused children by exploring the differences in psychosocial traits of non-offending mothers (N = 68; age range 28-67 years) reporting higher and lower resilience. The mediating role of these psychosocial factors on the relationship between resilience and psychological distress will also be explored. Results found that non-offending mothers in the higher resilience group reported higher levels of positive reappraisal, self-compassion, social support, and significantly lower levels of psychological distress compared to non-offending mothers in the lower resilience group. Additionally, multiple mediation analysis indicated positive reappraisal, self-compassion, and social support to be significant mediators of the relationship between resilience and psychological distress. Increased levels of self-compassion and social support were found to be predictive of lowered psychological distress, while increased positive reappraisal predicted increased psychological distress. The findings of the present study provide support for the targeting of the psychosocial factors such as self-compassion, social support, and positive reappraisal in interventions for non-offending mothers in an effort to promote resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-810
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Issue number7
Early online date13 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018


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